Red Sox leaning toward Jose Iglesias as starting shortstop

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Boston traded away Mike Aviles in the deal for manager John Farrell and the free agent shortstop class is an extremely weak one, so not surprisingly it looks like the Red Sox are planning to have 22-year-old rookie Jose Iglesias as their starting shortstop in 2013.

Nothing is set in stone, of course, but general manager Ben Cherington said acquiring another shortstop is on the “back-burner” behind more pressing needs and Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that Iglesias stepping forward to claim the full-time job “is clearly what they are hoping will happen.”

“We think Jose is ready to help the major league team, depending on what the rest of the team looks like,” Cherington said, adding that “nobody is going to be given anything” and “if he’s given an opportunity to win the job in spring training, then he’ll have to win the job.”

Iglesias is an elite defender capable of making some truly spectacular plays, but there are major questions about his bat. He’s hit just .251 with two homers and a .589 OPS in 189 games at Triple-A and batted .135 in 35 games for the Red Sox.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.